PREVIEW: ‘Kingdom Hearts 3’ Stays True to the Original Series, but Still Introduces Fresh New Additions #E3 #E32018

A few years ago, Kingdom Hearts III murmured the three words we yearned to hear, “Now in Development.” Now, after multitudes of unanswered phone calls, we finally have a date: January 29, 2019.

Every year, Square Enix always gave us just a small taste of what was to come. So little, in fact, that the hope for a Kingdom Hearts 3 was nothing but unrequited fiction. This year at E3, they released three new trailers during three different conferences, along with a confirmed release date that premiered before the E3 festivities even began. It seems like Square Enix decided they had tortured the fans long enough and were confident enough to reveal everything they’ve been working on.

The Geeks of Color team was extremely privileged enough to be able to play the Kingdom Hearts 3 demo at E3 and it was a DREAM.

I was playing on a PlayStation 4, although this game will be the first of the series to debut on Xbox One.

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The demo consisted of two different storylines: Toy Box and Olympus.

I hopped into Toy Box for my first playthrough and it looked gorgeous. Having recently replayed the old games, I can confidently say that this game is going to be absolutely breathtaking. Buzz, Woody, and the gang have never looked better.

I played through the introduction to Andy’s room, followed by a short trip to Galaxy Toys. The mechanics stay true to those from the original PlayStation, but feel a lot more fluid.

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Photo courtesy of Square Enix

One of the biggest differences I can note is what used to be “Summons” are now called “Links.” Despite the name change, the Link still works in the same way, bringing out a special Disney character to assist in battle. During Toy Box, the Links that were available were Ariel and Wreck-it Ralph. Before, sometimes, having Summons meant that the character’s world was omitted from the current game. I don’t see them leaving Atlantis out, since it was present in the previous two iterations, but it’s absolutely a possibility. There also hasn’t been a confirmation of Ralph’s world as well.

My favorite part of the playthrough is the newest addition of Attractions, which work similarly to Links, but instead of characters, pay homage to Disneyland attractions. As a huge Disney history nerd, I’m super excited about this. During my demo, I made sure to try ’em out. First up was the Mad Tea Cups.

 

The design looks a lot like the famous Electrical Parade – bright, covered in lights. Of course, it makes confrontations with Heartless much easier. Kind of like in Kingdom Hearts 2 when the Drive Forms make the gameplay more effortless than the first game.

Once you finish off the Heartless in Andy’s Room, there’s a small cutscene with the toys and then it’s off to Galaxy Toys. You leave through Andy’s window and actually travel down the street to the store.

Down here, you have more interactions with Heartless, including my all-time disliked enemies of the series – the Large Body Heartless. Sigh.

Here, I destroy the evil Large Bodies with another Attraction – the Pirate Ship!

 

At Galaxy Toys, you jump into giant robots to defeat other giant robots. At first, very confusing, but very exciting. Each Robot had their own abilities and after you defeated a new one, you could jump into another.

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Photo courtesy of Square Enix

 

After Galaxy Toys is another cutscene, signaling the end of the Toy Box demo. I’m sure the Toy Story storyline expands much further, to get to the bottom of the arrival of Heartless in their world.

Overall, I think that Kingdom Hearts 3 will hold up as the addition to the series we’ve all been waiting for. Just the introduction of Pixar characters for the first time makes it feel fresh and new, while the playstyle keeps us rooted in our nostalgia.

The demo confirmed my excitement for the upcoming game, even more now that there’s a concrete date to countdown to. Kingdom Hearts has always been my favorite series and I’m sure they’re ready to reward the fans for their patience over the last decade.

Only 211 short days until everyone will have a chance to jump back into Kingdom Hearts with Sora and all our favorite Disney characters. If your impatience runs thin, you can already pre-order the game in Square Enix’s online store, with a few deluxe editions for you die-hard fans.

See you in January!

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